Can You Afford to Take This Job?


ISR has received reports of schools that require parents to pay tuition in euros while, teachers’ salaries are paid in sinking US Dollars.  Over the last year some teachers report loosing 50% of their salary due to the weakening dollar.  Their schools, however, prospered by charging tuition in Euros; a strong currency that continues to grow stronger. Read complete article

8 Responses to Can You Afford to Take This Job?

  1. John says:

    Yes, I teach! The choice is personal. The “deals” around the world vary. Hope you find a suitable one. But “professional international workers” as a class of professionals who should get a premium? What premium? I suggest that working abroad is largely their premium as well as their preference !!

    The last poster’s paragraph above? Silly bar talk! You’ll find the same envy among “the rest of us” everywhere!

    I am not in favor of proprietary schools (or any others) who rip off people, so watch what you do — but don’t get silly or paranoid, get smart!

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  2. persian says:

    When will teachers stop complaining and just refuse contracts if they’re not good enough?

    The problem here isn’t exchange rates and currencies these are always fluctuating – just look at the pound/euro/dollar.

    The problem is that teachers are not given proper packages as professional international workers, when will the world actually start paying us for the responsibility of teaching the next generation.

    Isn’t it ironic that the bank and financial managers who have managed to cause the economic crisis get 5 to 10 times the salary plus benefits (I WON’T MENTION BONUSES) of the teacher responsible for their child’s future and wel1being 5 days a week and still complain about tuition fees!!!

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  3. admin-type says:

    Anonymous is right, that’s why we have contracts. In signing a contract, we’re taking a gamble that the currency we’re agreeing to be paid in is going to be stable or increase. Don’t blame the superintendent/board when your currency goes down unless you intend to give the s/b the credit when it goes up. The s/b has a feduciary responsibility to look after the client (students & parents) first, and when we gamble and lose, we shouldn’t expect to be able to change our bet because we lost. The reality is, s/b’s have at times felt an obligation to do something to at least take the edge off the sting. I saw that happen in Asia 10 years ago when those markets/currencies cratered. On the other hand, I’m still waiting to hear of a teacher or administrator who won the currency-exchange gamble give some back to the school. When that happens, I’ll be there keeping it, and right with everyone else feeling like, hey, I gambled, I won – it’s rightfully my money.

    Sean is also right (see? we CAN all be brothers). if schools make it part of the contract to have the option, or at least contain some buffering clause (e.g. allowing teachers to choose to take half local and half dollar or whatever) to protect the teachers, it would provide some peace of mind for teachers, and make it a little bit harder for people being cynical to think admin-types are just trying to find ways to screw them. Mind you, it’s a lot easier to talk about buffering clauses than it is to figure out what their ramifications are, but if Oagadugu can do it, others probably can as well.

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  4. seaninniger says:

    I don’t think anyone was suggesting schools switch currencies whenever the market changes direction or that those who disagree need a basic finance course. What I was attempting to share was an example of a school giving educators choices prior to signing a contract as a way of increasing the options for teacher and school alike.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Schools should be fair and transparent, and most are. But it’s not as easy as the OP suggests to be fair to everyone, nor to switch currencies mid-stream. Think of schools, like most, where teachers come from many countries. Anytime currencies change in relative value, some will benefit, and others will lose. So which currency should be used? The one from the home country of the majority of teachers, leaving others high and dry? The currency of the local economy, which may be far less stable than more established currencies? Or does the OP suggest that teachers should be paid in whatever currency is most beneficial to them each month? That would hardly allow a school to plan effectively, and the knock-on effects on the school’s budget for everything else would mean that resources, PD, facilities and everything would be constantly changing. I can imagine the complaints in the staff room in such an environment – no pay will ever make people happy in a school that has no stability.
    That’s why we have contracts. They state in advance what the pay will be, and what the currency will be. Everyone takes their chances – the school and the teachers – as to what currency will do during the course of the contract, but at least everyone knows in advance. If the situation gets as bad as the OP implies, where 50% of a salary’s value is lost, then either the school has to address it, or teachers from those countries will move on. It may sound harsh, but it’s just not realistic to say that schools should switch currencies whenever the market changes direction. Take a basic finance course and it’ll be much clearer than I’ve explained it.

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  6. seaninniger says:

    I’d like to see more schools such as the Int’l School of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) that gives teachers the option of being paid in Euros or Dollars.

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  7. John says:

    Basically, the article covers the different basic economics of the topic pretty well, but it seems somewhat extreme in the analysis. I don’t buy some of the blanket statements. Over the five years living in a “strong currency” country, I have seen a 10.5% drop in the dollar to the local currency, which of course does take a bite in the budget.

    To make a comparison on costs here and in the USA, another way to see how far your pay goes, I’m quite glad to be where I am. To take food, for example — but not the outrageously expensive MacFat burgers the writer seems to prefer, I can get an elegant three course continental dinner for USD15 (without the wine). That’s high off the hog here. That meal in a comparable US restaurant would cost be $35-45. Eat the local fare and the cost drops to as low USD1.25-1.50 for something equivalent to a MacFat burger meal but a lot healthier.

    Rents? Don’t get me going!

    Given the experience of five years, I have found a 6:1 ratio to be a good rule of thumb. I suggest that that is quite a counter argument to the original poster’s point.

    Regarding the implication (if I read the tone of the post correctly) that schools are out to screw teachers by charging fees in euros and paying in dollars, I think that’s going too far. If I ran a school (I don’t) I’d try to do the same thing, hoping I am right in guessing exchange rates! And mostly I won’t be! Otherwise, I’d be out sailing my yacht, not trying to run a school.

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  8. yoonglai says:

    Well, we can thank Mr Bush for spending 1 billion dollars a day (these were figures put out last year..I’m no expert, but if these are even close I can only say Shame)of American taxpayers’ money on military matters that don’t directly benefit his own country or make the world “a safer place”. It’s not safer.

    Some reports say the USD will come back in late 2010 or 2011. I actually have faith in the USD. Because of the current climate, it might be a good idea to freeze and protect the USD assets for a year or two, and invest in markets, based on your homework. Again I say, I’m no expert at all, but I really think it will bounce back…the US is nothing if not resourceful.

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